The war on terrorism--with its emphasis on laser-guided munitions, unmanned vehicles and satellite communications--highlights a need for in-creased funds for research and development of new defense-related technologies, according to Pentagon officials.
The Bush administration has requested $53.9 billion for Defense Department research, development, test and evaluation programs in fiscal year 2003, said Robert W. Baker, deputy director of the department's science and technology programs. That is a $5.5 billion increase over 2002--a nearly 10 percent jump--he told the 2002 Science & Engineering Technology Conference, in Charleston, S.C., organized by the National Defense Industrial Association.
The RDT&E request is part of a total proposed defense budget of $379 billion in 2003. That is an increase of $48 billion, or 12 percent over 2002, officials said.
The plus-up for RDT&E is intended to support the priorities established by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Navy Rear Adm. Stanley R. Szemborski, deputy director for force structure, resources and assessment (J-8) for the Joint Staff. The surprise attacks of September 11 forced the chiefs to reshape those priorities, he told the conferees. The new list, he said, includes winning the global war on terrorism, improving the joint warfighting capabilities of the armed forces and transforming those forces, so that they are ready to face future challenges.
The anti-terror campaign is "a new kind of war,'" with diplomatic, financial, intelligence and law enforcement aspects, Szemborski said. "Even the Internal Revenue Service is involved," he said. "Thankfully, they're on our side."
The involvement of all of these players "requires a greater level of interagency coordination than ever before," Szemborski noted. The United States is working to improve military and interagency collaboration, but he confessed: "We have a problem with interoperability. There's not enough money in the world to make everything interoperable, but we don't have to do that."
"We must foster a climate of innovation and change," he said. "We need to build a process and organization capable of rapidly infusing currently unknown changes into the entire force as effortlessly as possible," he added.
With this in mind, he said, the department is establishing "standing joint-force headquarters within the offices of each of the five unified commanders in chiefs, or CINCs. The U.S. Joint Forces Command, in Norfolk, Va., stood up the first of these SJFHQs in February. These new units-to be made up …